Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, and Members of Parliament have been urged to make budgetary allocations for programmes geared towards educating adolescent girls on their Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH).
The Upper West Regional Youth Parliament (UWRYP) said this at a press briefing on a research report on the “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health: A synthesis of Research Evidence” conducted in the Wa East District.
The YP, under the auspices of the National Youth Authority (NYA), conducted the research with funding support from the Plan International Ghana.
About 300 respondents, comprising 150 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 as well as parents, guardians and relatives of adolescent girls, participated in the research.
Also, seven key informants from the District Assembly Health and Education Directorates including the Gender Desk Office and the Planning Unit among others also participated.
“The inadequate funding for adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes and activities has been the major factor influencing the sexual behavior of girls in the Wa East District,” Mr James Baba Anabiga, the Speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, said when he addressed the press.
He advocated a holistic approach by all stakeholders including the media and the government functionaries to address the SRH needs of adolescent girls.
He said the research was carried out in the Wa East district following reported issues of adolescent sexual and reproductive health such as teenage pregnancy and its resultant school dropout in the district.
The research, among other things, sought to assess the commitment of the Wa East District Assembly and the office of the Member of Parliament of the Wa East Constituency to providing funding for ASRH programmes and activities.
It was also to examine parents’ responsibilities in the provision of the basic needs of the adolescent girls including sanitary materials.
The study revealed that the office of the MP and the District Assembly were not providing funding for ASRH programmes and activities.
According to the report, the District Assembly and the office of the MP were also not undertaking adequate programmes and activities to help inform adolescents of their SRH issues.
The report recommended that the government and the private sector undertake projects that would help create awareness and build the capacity of adolescent girls on their SRH.
“There is the need for the government to introduce a free sanitary pad policy to help meet the needs of adolescent girls,” the study recommended.
Mr Anabiga said such interventions by the government would help reduce the vulnerability of the girls to men as their over dependence on men for those items would reduce.
He explained that the YP would hold stakeholder engagements in the Funsi and Bulenga Area Councils in the district where the research was conducted as well as a parliamentary sitting on the report to further advocate support for the adolescent girls.